Private sector jobs also improving

In the previous post, we talked about the new monthly jobs report, but in keeping with tradition, here’s a slightly different chart — one showing just the private sector job market.

Overall, the U.S. economy exceeded expectations, adding 117,000 jobs in July, but as has been the case for a long while, there’s a major gap between the public and private sectors. Businesses added 154,000 jobs over the month, while 37,000 jobs were lost in the public sector at the same time, thanks to budget cuts at the state and local level.

Those are, by the way, budget cuts Republicans are desperate to bring to the federal level. GOP officials see state and local agencies shedding jobs and holding back the economy, and they seriously believe we should be doing more of this everywhere.

The July private-sector totals were the best since April, and both May and June numbers were revised upwards.

Just to be clear, these are encouraging data relative to where we were and what we were expecting, but much more needs to be done. Anyone looking at the new jobs report thinking, “Whew! I guess we’re back on track!” is making a big mistake.

And with that, here’s a different homemade chart, showing monthly job losses/gains in the private sector since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction — red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration. (The chart is now smaller to fit the redesigned website.)

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.